If you’re unfamiliar with some of the language used in the training programs, here is a helpful guide:
1. Recovery Miles (RM) – Recovery Miles is exactly that – miles to help you recover. This needs to be very easy to allow you to recover from the previous days. They’ll range anywhere from 40 – 60 minutes and should be substantially easier than Endurance Miles. It should be 4 – 5 on an RPE scale and have a frequency of 2 – 3 times per week.
2. Endurance Miles (EM) – This is the intensity that much of your riding time will consist of. Many people refer to it as their forever pace, but it’s also the time around your interval sets. Theses rides should be a 5 or 6 on the RPE scale and range from 90 minutes to 6+ hours. Your speed will vary with uphills and downhills, but remember to keep your perceived exertion the same. Going uphill at the same speed requires more work, which can turn your Endurance Miles into Steady State (see below) fairly quickly.
3. Fast Pedal (FP) – This workout should be performed on a relatively flat section of road or on an indoor trainer. The gearing should be light with low pedal resistance. Begin slowly and increase your pedal speed, starting out with about 15 or 16 pedal revolutions per 10-second count. This equates to a cadence of 90 to 96 RPM. While staying in the saddle, increase your pedal speed, keeping your hips smooth with no rocking. Concentrate on pulling through the bottom of the pedal stroke and over the top. After one minute of Fast Pedal, you should be maintaining 18 to 20 pedal revolutions per 10-second count, or a cadence of 108 to 120 RPM for the entire time of the workout. Your heart rate will climb while doing this workout, but don’t use it to judge your training intensity. It is important that you try to ride the entire length of the Fast Pedal workout with as few interruptions as possible because it should consist of consecutive riding at the prescribed training intensity.
4. Tempo (T) – Tempo workouts are that pace between your Endurance Miles and lactate threshold. These workouts help develop a stronger aerobic engine by maintaining an effort outside of your comfort zone. They should be a 7 on the RPE scale and range from 15 – 45 minutes for each interval. Be very careful that you don’t let your intensity level get into your lactate threshold. It’s very easy to let it creep up, but faster doesn’t always mean better. You need to be able to sustain that pace for longer periods of time to get the best adaptation.
5. SteadyState (SS) – Steady State is probably the most well-known term in these workouts. They’re a very important part of training and are very strenuous. They should be done at or slightly below your lactate threshold at an RPE of 8 – 9. These intervals are shorter than Tempo because of the intensity involved. Each interval ranges from 8 to 20 minutes and has a 2-to-1 recovery ratio. A typical workout may look like 3×10 minute with 5 minutes of active recovery between each interval.
6. Power Intervals (PI) – Power Intervals are short, extremely strenuous intervals that help develop your VO2 max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise). They last 1 to 3 minutes at an RPE of 10. Warming up before these is even more important, so make sure to get in 15 – 30 minutes of conversational riding before you start the intervals. The recovery period is 1 to 1, so 1 minute intervals have 1 minute of active recovery.